A significant concern for people who are thinking about having metal implanted in their bodies – such as an artificial joint or pacemaker – is whether they are or might become allergic to any of the materials used in the implant. An allergic reaction to an implanted metal can range from mild irritation of the skin over the implant to pain and tenderness around the implant. In severe cases, an implanted joint can loosen, or system‐wide symptoms such as rash, hives and joint pain can result. Thus, it is essential to go into metal implantation with as much information about not only the procedure itself and what the recovery period will be like, but also a working knowledge about the possibilities of developing symptoms due to metal allergy as well as what to do about it.
Testing is best performed two weeks before surgery to determine if a given patient has an allergy to any metals that may be implanted. We have done extensive research into the types of materials used in various specialties – orthopedics, cardiology, dental, and gynecology. When an implant by any of these specialists is considered, it is helpful to test at a minimum to the materials that are intended to be implanted. Preferably, the patient will opt to receive testing for the entire panel of relevant materials. For example, if a patient is going to receive an artificial hip, we would test all of the materials used in orthopedics. That way, if a patient is shown to be allergic to the metal being considered, we have already tested them to the alternatives, so the surgeon can choose an alternative material to which no reaction occurred.